Last week I went up to a supermodel babe on the detox retreat I was doing and said
“I have to admit that I didn’t think I’d be able to relate to you so I haven’t spoken to you – you are so beautiful that I assumed you would be fake and unrelatable.
But since we’ve been getting to know each other in the group, I’ve realised that you’re one of the most internally beautiful, raw, honest people I’ve ever met. And I’m humbled by the wrongness of the judgement my mind made of you.”
We’re in Ubud, everyone is used to this kind of raw honesty.
We then got onto a conversation where she told me that her beauty had sent her into severe depression where she could hardly get out of bed for a year.
She has a perfect life with a hot, rich, Wall-Street husband, she’s stop-and-stare stunning, yet she felt empty; and she felt she couldn’t ask for help, people didn’t believe that she could be struggling with such a perfect-on-the-surface life.
She told me she used to dress all in black, and try not to look too feminine so as not to elicit strong reactions from males or females. She also told me she couldn’t handle the constant compliments from people; they made her feel uncomfortable and somehow guilty. She felt that people often only valued her for her looks, they didn’t see the person underneath, and neither could she for a very long time.
This is so common for so many women. We’re either beautiful and try to hide it or apologise for it; or we own our beauty and are judged and scorned for it; or we think we’re less attractive and we strive to be more beautiful, or we pour all our efforts into proving ourselves in other ways – career, parenting, sport, helping others.
Centuries of female suppression has given women a huge old dose of self-doubt and created generation after generation of brilliant women who don’t fully believe in their own self worth – I don’t imagine many of us have been immune to this need to prove ourselves in some way.
Our conversation brought so much to the surface for me –
this idea that beautiful people have it easy and we should all strive to be a babe, because, marketing tells us, beauty is the key to Colgate-smile happiness. And also Coke Life.
But as far as I can tell, whether we think we’re unattractive or average or stunningly beautiful, we all struggle with a different version of the same rubbish. So we may as well stop striving and start unravelling our own hangups about how we look, and whether it’s really that relevant to our life and happiness. If we think becoming or having anything different that we already are or have now will make us happy, we’re barking up the wrong tree. In fact we’re barking up a lamp post.
To some extent, I have lived in both worlds.
When I was younger and hated myself, I was dorky, unattractive, and a goody two shoes/ teacher’s pet. So I was left out, I didn’t feel that I fit in anywhere, I had groups of friends, but none that really wanted to be friends with just me.I thought that if only I was attractive, then people would like me more. Click To Tweet
Then, with the advent of ironing-hair-onto-ironing-boards, I suddenly found that I could morph myself into something like this beautiful person that I wanted to be. Straightened, bleached hair, fake tanned body, and eye makeup that I literally never took off, not even when sleeping.On a good hair/ non smeary-fake tan day, I was aesthetically/ doesn’t-reach-the-smile-or-eyes beautiful. Click To Tweet
And it was in this new exterior shell that I realised that being beautiful was actually more of a curse than a cure-all for happiness and social acceptance.
I started to find that I was constantly aware of what other girls thought of me. I never befriended any guys who had girlfriends for fear that their girlfriends would get jealous or think I was trying to hit on them. Of course this was all in my mind, they probably didn’t think that, I would be the last person to steal someone’s boyfriend, I’m loyal to a T, whatever that means, but I still took on the responsibility of making sure there was never a chance that I could be seen as making moves on the wrong dudes. Not that I knew how to make moves on dudes anyway.
Then I also had a really heart breaking incident where the guy that was my best friend for a year decided he’d fallen in love with me, and it destroyed our friendship, I loved him so much, just not in that way, and it turned our friendship sour for him, he started to be narky with me, started to insult me in front of other people, and now he doesn’t speak to me at all.
So I learnt that I shouldn’t be close friends with any males; not ones in a relationship, nor ones who were single.
And I realised that it was really hard to make new friends with females – I found that in many cases, females tended to have this defensive, judgemental instinct where they (we) judge other beautiful females and assume that they’re fake and vacuous – I used to do this myself. Oh my god, I’d say, can you believe those slappers with their pockets-longer-than-shorts shorts?! Of course it was just jealousy and insecurity. I now wear shorts like that, though I did try to sew the pockets up so they don’t hang down.
My new babe-facade also meant that I had no self worth – I thought that boyfriends were really only with me for my looks, and so I could never let them see me in my natural state, and I was very jealous of their ex girlfriends and any hot girls in our vicinity – I honestly thought that they might just find someone more attractive and love her instead – I never considered that it was the me inside the shell that they loved, that me that sets me (and all of us) apart from every other hot and not hot female in the world.
Eventually I realised that being beautiful only caused me more strife – and now I had a new dilemma – neither being unattractive or attractive had made me any happier nor more loved – so what did I have to do to be happy??And so laid the foundations for my journey of what-the-hell-is-happiness - my Project Self. Click To Tweet
The point I’m trying to make is twofold.
First, we should never trust the judgements of our mind. Beautiful or not beautiful, we must hear someone’s story before we decide whether we like them or not. Case in point, Bloody Good Chap looks like a total jock sometimes, but he’s the kindest, least arrogant person I’ve ever met.
Second, however beautiful or not beautiful you think you are externally – embrace it! We all have that wacky friend that is a total dick and just fully owns it – and we always love them to bits. We can trust them, they put us at ease because we don’t have to work them out. And they give us permission to be our own wacky selves.